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When you’ve lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death lawsuits are personal injury claims.

In California, someone has two years from the date of the person’s death to initiate a wrongful death claim. 

What Is Wrongful Death?

Pretty much any incident that gives rise to a personal injury claim can lead to a wrongful death action if the victim dies because of their injuries.

Some common causes of personal injury and wrongful death claims include:

  • Medical malpractice;
  • Vehicle accidents;
  • Construction accidents;
  • Toxic torts, such as asbestos or Roundup poisoning; 
  • Premises liability incidents; and
  • Workplace accidents.

There is no limit to the type of incident that can give rise to a wrongful death claim.

So long as your loved one died because of someone else’s misconduct and you have a certain familial relationship with them, you are entitled to bring a wrongful death action.

These lawsuits compensate the surviving family members for the harm they suffered because of their loved one’s death.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In California, the following people have standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit for surviving their loved one:

  • Spouses or domestic partners;
  • Children;
  • Parents or legal guardians; and 
  • Certain individuals that were dependent on the decedent, such as stepchildren, children, and spouses.

Wrongful death claimants can recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages include the financial support lost when the person died, funeral expenses, and loss of their household services.

Non-economic losses include loss of companionship and moral support and loss of their training or guidance.

The potential value of the damages in a wrongful death claim depends on what the decedent’s life expectancy would have been if not for the incident.

Determining someone’s life expectancy involves considering many factors including their age, lifestyle, health, and occupation.

Survival Actions  

In California, where someone dies because of another party’s misconduct, a survival action compensates the person’s estate for compensation they would have been entitled to if they had not died.

Damages in survival actions include medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial losses the person incurred between the accident and their death.

In survival actions filed since January 2022, these claims can also include damages for non-economic damages, such as the decedent’s pain and suffering or disfigurement.

Survival actions are different from wrongful death claims, which compensate the person’s family members.

The Farzam Law Firm Wrongful Death Attorneys Are Here to Help

Losing your loved ones is always heart-breaking. While no amount of money will undo your hurt, you could be eligible for compensation for your losses and harm suffered.

The Farzam Law Firm can help you with your wrongful death claim or survival action. If you have questions about California wrongful death claims, contact us today to set up a consultation.

Author Photo

Joseph Farzam

Mr. Farzam attended Santa Monica high school and worked at McDonald’s and local coffee shops to support himself. Although he worked 2 or 3 jobs, he valued education greatly and earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge in biology, and attended the prestigious Pepperdine University School of Law. He graduated with high marks and passed the California bar exam on the first try. Mr. Farzam has received the coveted titles of Super Lawyer, Los Angeles Magazine’s Top Lawyers, and has received The Litigator Awards.  He is a proud member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) and California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA).

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